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Blanche as a Tragic Hero in Streetcar Named Desire Essay


Some interpretations have portrayed tragic heroines as manipulative plotters driven by passionate desires. Others have seen them as victims of the society in which they live. Bearing in mind these two readings, how do you respond to the dramatic presentation of the character of Blanche in Williams named desire.

Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire portrays Blanche as a victim to the audience. We see this throughout the play. When we are first introduced with Blanche she is described as there is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes thats suggests a moth. This already highlights to the reader that she is different, and stands out. Also moth could represent thats Blanche doesnt like the light so by describing her this way could be hinting to the audience what she is like, and that she doesnt like being in the light or being seen in the light. Also Stanley and Blanches conflict is very noticeable to the readers, the conflict between them is a big part of the play. There is noticeable sexual tension between them, an example of this is when Stella is in the bathroom, and Stanley takes of his shirt in order to be comfortable, where Blanche seems to be ok with this, but it comes across to the audience later on in the play, that she was uncomfortable being there. Blanche comes across as a man-eater because an important characteristic, thats Blanche seems to not be able to talk to men in a non-sexual way, even men that it is inappropriate to talk to like that, such as Stanley her brother in law. This is a contradiction to where she comes from, because she has been brought up around the old south standards, which is not to have sex until married, and Blanche shows little refection to this. When Stanley finds out the real Blanche he exposes her to Stella and Mitch telling them what he has found out.

We see this in scene seven where Stanley talks to Stella whilst Blanche is in the bath. Stanley explains to Stella she is famous in Laurel as if she was a President of the United States, only she is not respected she moved to the Flamingo! A second class hotel Flamingo was impressed by Dame Blanche! In fact they were so impressed by Dame Blanche that they requested her to turn in her room key Stanley explains this in such way, that it is funny, in a sarcastic way, because throughout the book he has known there is something not quiet right with her and now he has found it out, he is feeling kind of proud of himself. This shows to the audience that Blanche is a victim because Stanley is constantly against her and hasnt given her a chance from the start. Stella doesnt completely believe Stanley and admits to him that Blanche does have her problems, and explain its because of her young marriage and homosexual husband. When Stanley tells Mitch about Blanches past, he doesnt turn up to Blanches birthday lunch, Blanche is left upset, and heartbroken, and not knowing why. In scene ten the audience are introduced to the evil side to Stanley, when he rapes Blanche, this is indicated by the music that is played, its impulsive and violent. We can see from the quotations In the book, it indicates to the audience what is going on. she moans. The bottle top falls. She sinks to her knees. He picks up her inert figure and carries her to bed. The hot trumpet and drums from the four Deuces sound loudly this is hinting the violence in whats happening also shows he is pushing her about which then leads to the audience realising what is happening. After the rape has happened this is when the audience and the people around Blanche such as Eunice, Stella, and Stanley that Blanche is going mad. Scene eleven is when we as an audience can see she is going a bit crazy thinking Shep Huntleigh is coming to get her, but they are sending Blanche of into the countryside because they think she is crazy. When Blanche realises that Shep Huntleigh isnt there, she tries to get away from the men saying Yes! Yes, I forgot something this could suggest to the audience Blanche is scared, and again portraying the idea that she is a victim.

The language that is used throughout the play, we can always tell as a audience, what the character is feeling. Especially between Blanche and Stanley the language used between the two of them, is never in a nice way. In Scene ten we seen the moment where all the nastiness starts from Stanley to Blanche. He says to her And look at yourself! Take a look at yourself in that worn out Mardi Gras outfit rented for fifty cents from some rag picker! And with the crazy crown on! What queen do you think you are!. This suggests to the audience that he could be jealous, also he is putting her down making her feel small, and not very nice. The language he uses towards Blanche is violent and unacceptable, and at this point the audience may have sympathy for Blanche because they are seeing the nastiness of Stanley and start to take a dislike to him, and see Blanche as the victim in the play. The language of Blanche is completely different to Stanley, she is softer and more flirtatious, which makes the audience think she is a man eater at the start of the play. Throughout the play we start to see her as more of a victim, by the way she is an outcast and especially the way she is treated by Stanley. In the last scene as Blanche is being taken by the doctor she says I have always depended on the kindness of strangers to the audience this shows that she relies on strangers more than she relies on herself, and that the strangers have only been kind for the exchange of sex from Blanche, and people such as Stanley and Mitch have declined her the sympathy she deserves. This quote, her last remark shows her detachment from the reality, and they way she sees life as she wants to. This shows the audience she is the victim, especially her last remark, this makes us feel sympathy for Blanche, and realise that she has been the victim all along.

As well as Blanche being a victim, she can also be seen as a tragic hero, she involves the reader in her pity, and revealing in the end her innocence, and that she is easily destroyed by the real world, even though it is harsh, which highlights the idea of a tragic hero. Blanche doesnt want anyone to find out the truth, including herself. Blanche is seen nothing but innocent at the start of the play, but as the plot proceeds, her past is revealed , and her sexual experiences that happened in Laurel. Throughout the play we can notice that Blanche doesnt like to face her past, still living like she is 20 year old girl. She also doesnt like the light so she hides herself away from that, and also any strong interrogation. Both of these things would show her age, and also that her looks have disappeared which is why Blanche doesnt like being in the strong light.

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